Why it’s OK your first love is someone you’ll never forget

In one of my favorite movies, Big Fish, the main character, Edward Bloom, said “They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true.” He was standing amidst popcorn floating in the air, gazing at Sandra Templeton, a girl he would eventually marry. It was around 17 years and a few weeks ago that I met my first love, popcorn and all.

I’ll never forget it. It was at a Mt. St Mary’s dance that a handsome, tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed St. Joes boy asked me to dance with him. We exchanged numbers on an empty popcorn bag, after sharing the contents together. I’ve kept that piece of nostalgia all these years later.

That night I met him, he called me on my cell phone from his “landline” and we talked for hours. Times were so different back then. Of course, relationships that begin in adolescence rarely last. Ours didn’t, but we remained friends into adulthood. We continued to talk on the phone for hours, about nothing, and laughed of happier times.

It was six years and a few weeks ago that I got a call that would forever change my life. I learned that my high school sweetheart had passed away. Devastated. Greif-stricken. Heartbroken. It was hard to process that I would never see or talk to him again. Why him? Could I ever love again?

When we’re young, we think we have all the answers. As we get older, we realize we know less. Things aren’t always black and white – they’re gray. I didn’t quite understand love all those years ago, but I felt it though. It can be quite hard to understand feelings and emotions, when they’re not tangible.

The truth is, any situation in life, whether good or bad, is temporary. Living in the moment and appreciating what’s in front of you can offer sound piece of mind. As much as we want to control outcomes, our lives rarely turn out the way we planned. In some circumstances, our lives are better than we could have ever imagined.

Is it possible to love again after convincing yourself it’s not? Absolutely. The key is to let go of all expectations. The saying “misery loves company” is true. If you look for sadness all the time, you’re bound to find it. Although I spent many years bitter from all difficulties I experienced, I know now that nothing in life is guaranteed. Instead of over analyzing situations and searching endlessly for answers to all life’s questions, I try my hardest at acceptance and just letting things be. Not everything in life will have clear meaning, nor should it.

To date, my definition of love has expanded. I believe love is opening one’s heart to let the goodness shine out to everyone and everything in his or her path. Make it shine bright enough so nothing bad can enter. Positivity will attract to you like a magnet. I’ve discovered a happier version of myself by focusing on finding love and beauty in the simplest things. I now try to put love in everything I do. I learned that in shielding one’s heart from love, it may cause someone to miss out on some of the most amazing things that life has to offer.

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